Each month I share the books I have been reading as a part of The 2016 Reading Challenge, as well as books I have read for fun. I hope that these quick reviews provide you with some new titles to add to your list of Books to Read.
What I’m Reading This Month
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I, like the rest of the world, have heard about this book for months. But, I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it. (Plus, I have a contrary streak in me that tends to avoid books with lots of hype!). However, I saw a copy of it in our free “little library” on the corner and grabbed it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The book is a captivating thriller with an ending that I only suspected as I drew near to it. Even if you typically aren’t one for mysteries or thrillers, I would recommend it.
Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
After reading Dr. Philip Mamalakis’s Parenting toward the Kingdom last month, I got on a bit of a parenting book kick. Out of the three parenting books I read this month, Free Range Kids was my favorite. It is written in an engaging style with plenty of examples, stories, and small steps to take. The basic premise is that we need to give our children freedom–freedom to do tasks on their own, freedom to go places on their own, freedom to try and fail at something, and freedom to just play instead of living a totally structured life. I agreed with most of the book and came away with some practical ideas about ways that I can give my children more freedom.
Bringing Up Geeks by Marybeth Hicks
While the title was interesting and the book had some great points, it was probably my least favorite of the parenting books I read. The idea, in my opinion, is a solid one: protect our children’s childhoods. This may seem like the complete opposite of the Free Range Kids mentality, but some parts can be compatible. Hicks isn’t arguing for a helicopter parenting mentality. Instead, she wants to keep our children from being swallowed up by our culture’s emphasis on materialism, technology, and popularity. Let the kids be kids. Let them enjoy time with their families, time reading, discovering who they really are. My favorite part of the book was when Hicks shared her family’s technology rules. My children are a bit young still, but I like the idea of having written and posted rules for technology use in the house.
The final book I read on parenting is the most theoretical one. Really it is a book on childhood and culture. Louv writes that our children have become disconnected from nature. Part of this is the litigious society that we live in which regulates children’s abilities to explore and discover things in nature on their own. Part of it is due to city planning that doesn’t value green space or walkability. And, part of it is due to highly busy and structured schedules that don’t allow much time for independent play and exploration. I enjoyed the book and am now trying to integrate some of the ideas into our family.
Young Adult Fiction
I am a 7th grade reading teacher, so I try to read quite a bit of YA lit each month in order to better recommend books to my students (plus, I just really enjoy it!).
The Scourge by Jennifer Nielsen
I have read and loved all of Jennifer Nielsen’s books. The False Prince is one of the books that I am constantly recommending to my students! While I enjoyed reading The Scourge, it is not my favorite of Nielsen’s books. The Scourge tells the story of a girl living in a society plagued by a mysterious disease simply called The Scourge. All of its victims are taken to an island where they live out their remaining days separated from the rest of society. When Ani is diagnosed with the illness, she discovers that there is a lot more going on than just a plague–and discovering it may put her life in more danger.
Half Bad by Sally Green
This month I also read one of my final Virginia Reader’s Choice books of 2016-2017. (These are books selected by librarians and educators as the best books for readers in various age groups. I try to read all of them each year so that I can recommend great books to my students. Our school also makes a big deal of it with raffles, prizes, and a pizza party.) Half Bad is the first novel in a trilogy about young Nathan–a Half Code. He is half White Witch and half Black Witch, making him everyone’s target and least favorite person. I enjoyed the imagination and pace of the book and look forward to reading the others in the series.
What are you reading this month?
(As always, I am linking up with Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy.)
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